FMCSA offers clarification on its crash preventability demonstration program

First few months of the program reveal misunderstandings to address

Posted February 8, 2018

To clear up confusion on its crash preventability demonstration program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently published a notice in the Federal Register providing additional information.

On August 1, 2017, the agency’s program began accepting requests for data review (RDRs) to evaluate the preventability of certain categories of crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. The RDR is submitted via FMCSA’s national data correction system known as DataQs.

Based on the first few months of the program, FMCSA identified areas requiring clarification.

Correctly submitting eligible crashes

Some participants of the program are incorrectly submitting requests. Specifically, they are:

  • Entering crashes under the standard review program by selecting “Not an FMCSA-reportable crash.” This designation is for those crashes that do not meet FMCSA’s recordable crash definition of a fatality, injury, or property damage requiring a vehicle to be towed from the scene. DataQs RDRs entered into the standard review program will be closed without a preventability determination because they were not submitted under the demonstration program.
  • Requesting the review of an ineligible crash. Examples include accidents that do not fall under the eight types of eligible crashes or those that occurred before June 1, 2017. The system will close the RDR without any action for these ineligible crashes.

FMCSA is directing those participating in the crash preventability demonstration program to:

  • Select “Crash could not be prevented,”
  • Ensure the crash event date is on or after June 1, 2017, and
  • Select an eligible crash type.

The agency has created a video for additional information

Eight eligible crash types

FMCSA indicated that a significant number of RDRs submitted are were not eligible for the demonstration program.

The agency reminds participants that only the following eight crash types will be considered:

  1. When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense);
  2. When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction;
  3. When the CMV was struck in the rear;
  4. When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle was unattended;
  5. When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit, suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV;
  6. When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway;
  7. When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or other debris; or
  8. When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

FMCSA reminds stakeholders that the burden of proof for preventability is placed on the submitter. Compelling evidence needs to be provided to the agency for consideration. FMCSA does not require specific documentation. However, the agency may request additional information on the crash that is typically a part of the motor carrier’s regulatory recordkeeping (e.g., licensing, medical status).

Reopening RDRs

Submitters are given one chance to reopen their RDR when FMCSA deems the event preventable or undecided, or the RDR is closed for another reason. However, this option is only available if additional or new information is submitted.

Once an RDR is closed, the agency will not respond to additional comments submitted through the DataQs system. Instead, the RDR must be reopened and additional information submitted as cause for FMCSA to reconsider the determination.

How does the program affect CSA scores?

Final determinations made through the demonstration program will be noted in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS). However, no crashes are removed from SMS as a result of this demonstration program, and the decisions will not affect the motor carrier’s actual CSA Crash Indicator BASIC score. For the purpose of prioritizing motor carriers for safety interventions, FMCSA will continue to use all crashes during the demonstration program.

The agency will use the data from the demonstration program to make improvements to its prioritization tools.


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